SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.- --
Schriever Airmen stepped out of their workplace and social circles to spend a day engaging in education and team building during Wingman Day May 4.
“We offered 28 Wingman University classes and Airmen were able to choose the specific topics that were most applicable to building their own resilience skills,” said Jessica Schroeder, event organizer.
“The time set aside on Wingman Day for units to bond is critical in building these important social connections and morale.”
This rendition’s theme was “May the fourth be with you,” a nod to fictional space movies in light of Schriever’s critical space mission, with base leadership entering the fitness center to the Ellicott High School band’s rendition of the iconic “Imperial March.”
Col. DeAnna Burt, 50th Space Wing Commander, kicked off the event highlighting to the audience, (many of whom donned space movie-themed T-shirts), the importance of unit morale and working as a team.
“Today is about resiliency, learning new skills and taking time for ourselves,” said Burt. “I want to take this day to take care of us through team building.”
The opening event also featured guest speaker Stephen Garbett, an Olympic athlete who related the struggles of learning how to master the sport of Skeleton (a competitive sport in which an individual races down a hill head first on a sled for the best possible time) to overcoming fears and building resiliency in life.
He learned about the sport while critically ill in the hospital, watching the Olympics on television. The threatening illness ignited a realization in him of how precious and short life is, and he chose to pursue goals he previously neglected.
“From that point on, I wanted to do two things in life; become the first in my family to graduate college and try the sport Skeleton,” said Garbett. “I’ve had a dream since I was a kid to become representative of the U.S. and an Olympian. I chose to pursue this dream. ”
Garbett said he wouldn’t have been able to fulfill his dream without teamwork.
“While it’s an individual sport and you need to be the best you can be, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to work together as a team,” said Garbett. “My teammates and I believed if we worked together, we can be the best in the world; after all, it’s not about beating each other – it’s about beating the Russians, the Germans and so on,” he laughed.
After his speech and a refresher on the day’s activities, Airmen departed to attend their registered classes throughout the base, each with various focuses – from spiritual and financial resiliency, to cake decorating and self-defense techniques.
The classes did have one constant, however - it brought Airmen from different squadrons and units to spend the morning learning together.
Schroeder hopes the next Wingman Day in October will further expand on the team building and resiliency concepts which help strengthen the base as a whole.
“We want to build on the Wingman University concept and continue to offer classes that allow Airmen to build and practice their resilience skills,” Schroeder said. “Wingman Day offers us the much-needed opportunity to focus on our own resilience and bond with those in our unit.”